Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calling all phylogeneticists: Encyclopedia of Life Phylogenetic Tree Challenge

Just got an email from Todd Vision about this. Definitely seems worth checking out: EOL Phylogenetic Tree Challenge - Encyclopedia of Life

The challenge is summarized on their web site and I quote it here

"A prize is offered to the individual or team that can provide a very large, phylogenetically-organized set(s) of scientific names suitable for ingestion into the Encyclopedia of Life as an alternate browsing hierarchy.

  • Names must be provided in Darwin Core Archive1 format.
  • Extinct organisms may be treated but are not required.
  • Ranks are not required for names but may be included.
  • Internal nodes need not all have formal Linnaean names but require a label which can be arbitrary. Leaf nodes also need not have formal names but ideally most will overlap with current EOL species pages.
  • For the purpose of this contest, metrics and source of node support, branch lengths, vernaculars, and synonyms are not required. These may be included; not all are currently displayable on EOL.
  • Trees must be rooted. Multiple, overlapping hierarchies may be submitted as a set (e.g. to handle reticulation)
Among other factors, the total number of uniquely named nodes, node/leaf ratios and tree height may be used to compare entries so contestants should consider how they wish to trade off strict consensus versus other methods of reflecting the state of phylogenetic knowledge.

Problems to solve include 1) how to assign labels to unnamed nodes, 2) how to fill in gaps so that the set of taxa included is as comprehensive as possible, even if trees are not fully resolved or all taxa have not been analyzed, 3) how to handle competing hypotheses, 4) how to update the hierarchy at least annually.

The winning submission must be available to EOL and others under an acceptable CC license if it is under copyright. The tree need not be previously published in peer-reviewed form.

Questions about the challenge may be asked in the Phylogenetic Tree Challenge community on EOL."

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